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New childcare arrangments -- is this a bad idea?

(19 Posts)
frogs Thu 11-Aug-05 19:15:49

My childcare arrangments for dd2 (20 months) have just gone belly-up. I have a few plans for alternatives, but wanted to run one of them past the collective wisdom of MN.

I need care during school hours, three days a week, preferably at a location other than my house, as I mainly work from home. I would also like dd2 to be taken to toddler group-type sessions, but not particularly fussed which ones.

I've had an offer of childcare from the mother of a classmate and friend of my dd1's. I get on well with the mother myself, we've seen quite a bit of each other over the years our girls have been together, but she's not a close personal friend IYSWIM.

She's very fond of my dd2, and dd2 seems to like her a lot. I know that the quality of care she would give dd2 would be excellent, in terms of love and attention, and activities. I also know she probably needs the money (she's a non-employed single parent with erratic contributions from her ex).

But I feel slightly shy about entering into what is essentially a work/financial relationship with somebody who I've got to know in a more friend/acquaintance sort of context. She's pretty flexible and easy-going, and I can be flexible with my work arrangements most of the time (and have a babysitting agency to take up the slack in emergencies), so I don't foresee any immediate practical pitfalls. It's just... Can you all see my dilemma?

Any thoughts?

binkie Thu 11-Aug-05 19:31:35

Yes, can see both sides at once. Will give it more thought overnight (am about to crash, having caught dd's bug) but immediately:

- has she any sort of experience at this? If not (or maybe even if so), how does she take guidance/advice/discussion of differences of opinion (generally, as a personality matter)?

- if she is going to be using her own home, won't she need to be registered as a childminder? (I'm assuming she isn't, as I think you would have said?) Or is just looking after one child under the threshhold?

- could you give it a trial? Would there be any hard feelings if either side said no, this isn't working?

More thoughts later ...

[PS I hope you got my e-mail in response to all your kind thoughts re anarchy?]

binkie Thu 11-Aug-05 19:32:04

hmm, I can spell threshold

feelingold Thu 11-Aug-05 19:39:21

If she is not immediate family and you will be paying her and she will be looking after your child in her home she would have to register as a childminder I am afraid.
I know you know her etc but for the safety of your child and, for you and your childs and her protection it is the only way to go.

frogs Thu 11-Aug-05 19:42:51

I'm not fussed about the childminder thing, it's the whole friend/employee thing that's bothering me. And yes, I know them's the rules, but just humour me, please...

motherinferior Thu 11-Aug-05 19:47:33

Oh yes, I can completely empathise. And cannot add anything to Binkie's notes although I will also ponder anarchy (am always to be found screaming at the radio shouting YOU DON'T MEAN ANARCHY YOU MEAN CHAOS, dammit, anarchy is a political perspective)?

It's the needing-the-money aspect which makes it difficult to pull out as well, isn't it.

frogs Thu 11-Aug-05 19:49:07

I did get your message, binkie, thanks! My hotmail has been very slow so have only answered the most urgent emails. Yours required a bit more thought, particularly in the cake department!

Will email tomorrow. Hope you feel better soon.

bambi06 Thu 11-Aug-05 19:50:28

just give it a trial if you feel comfortable with her /sometimes friends will look after their mates kids better because they are youre friend but you cant claim tax credits as she`s not registered an d what about insurance for her/

feelingold Thu 11-Aug-05 19:53:54

I am a childminder and I have found it very awkward minding friends children, eg asking for money, telling them if they have misbehaved etc. I find it easier to mind for 'strangers' but of course they do become friends but only because you are their childminder if you know what I mean.
Some people find that having a friend being their childminder helpful, others find it very difficult, it's an individual thing. If your child came home and told you she had done something you didn't agree with could you approach her to discuss the problem or would you find this difficult?

frogs Thu 11-Aug-05 20:05:40

MI, posts crossed.

She offered, spontaneously, a couple of days ago when I was moaning about my current (rather ideal) arrangement going down the Swanee. It probably wouldn't be a very long-term thing, as dd2 will hopefully start part-time nursery in the new year. My only concern is potential awkwardness. I'm starting to think I'm being ridiculously prissy about it. I should probably meet up with her and tell her upfront about my slight reservations. Maybe she has similar concerns, and bringing it all out in the open might well be the way forward.

And no, binkie's ds didn't sound particularly anarchic to me either, compared with everyday life in my dd1's Y5 class.

binkie Fri 12-Aug-05 09:01:36

The only new idea I came up with was whether, should your original arrangements come back together, and (say) someone else you knew was looking for childcare - would you find yourself suggesting her? As a test it might help disentangle the friendship from the practicalities, maybe.

All right then on anarchy, thing is that it does seem to have a nearly coherent ideology - as in, whatever is expected of me I will do the blamed opposite and See What That Makes You Do. Shall I call it perversity?

lunavix Fri 12-Aug-05 09:07:28

You might not be worried about the childminder thing, but there's repurcussions for both of you if she's found out - by doing this for you she IS an unregistered childminder, which is illegal. You can also get in trouble for using her, as you know she is unregistered.

I personally would encourage her to register, or find a registered childminder. If she registered, it would be basically free as you get grants to pay back your registration costs. She could also take on other children, if necessary, which would help her earnings.

There could be many pitfulls - what if one day she doesn't turn up? Asks for more money? Decides on a few days notice she wants holiday? Is the ex safe? Will he come visiting?

frogs Fri 12-Aug-05 12:48:30

Sheer Bloody-Mindedness, perhaps, binkie?

I've been mulling it over, and think I will have a chat with her about my reservations. My only doubt is that I've known her for a long time, and we've had the kind of relationship where we pick each other's kids up in emergencies, share the run to swimming lessons, and have each other's children round to tea. Dd1 and ds stayed the night with her when I was in hospital having dd2, and my ds is dressed almost entirely in her ds's handmedowns. So the overlap between friendly helping out and paid caring is potentially a bit blurry. But as long as we talk it through beforehand, we should be able to anticipate most difficulties.

There's no real chance of my current arrangements coming back together, as current nanny/cm is getting on a bit, has had a nasty fall and been told by her Dr. to not do any lifting. Dd2 will probably be starting part-time nursery in January (school hours), so it's only for a limited time anyway.

oops Fri 12-Aug-05 12:57:34

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binkie Fri 12-Aug-05 12:59:11

yup, there's a reason for those old wifey turns of phrase, isn't there

Well, she sounds like a great friend. If it would work with anyone, sounds like it would with her. Let us know how your chat goes .. though sadly I will have to stay on tenterhooks for three weeks as I'm off on holiday tonight w/ no web access. See you Sept.

frogs Fri 12-Aug-05 13:03:51

oops, excellent, that's exactly the kind of story I was hoping for! I will have the chat over the next couple of weeks, and then take it from there. Infinitely preferable to recruiting a complete unknown through Simply Childcare, as long as we can make it work.

binkie, what a fantastic word 'wifey' is! A long-lost term from my year in Edinburgh, def. due a resurrection.

colditz Fri 12-Aug-05 13:05:19

I think you can give her Tesco vouchers or similer, and it might not count as payment, but as a gift.

JELLYJELLY Fri 12-Aug-05 18:37:24

Ofsted still count vouchures as a gift so it would mean that she was being paid.

oops Fri 12-Aug-05 19:44:20

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